Monday, January 7, 2013

Persuasion Can Double Your Results at Half the Cost!


It’s a new year and that means a fresh start. The profit and sales measures have all been reset to zero and the sky is the limit. If I could share with you a proven persuasion technique that could potentially double your results at half the cost would you be interested?

Most businesses use rewards to stimulate the desired results. That’s not bad business but there’s a more cost effective way that can help you get better results. How, you ask? By engaging people with gifts instead of rewards.

Rewards are based on an “if you, I will” system whereas gifts are simply “I will.” You see, a gift given does not necessarily mean the other person will do what you want. We only need to look at charitable organizations like Easter Seals or March of Dimes to realize not everyone donates to those causes. However, if those two organizations are like the American Veterans they probably see twice as many people donate because of those little mailing labels – gifts – we receive in the mail.

When people are given a gift they feel compelled to give back in some way. We call that tendency “reciprocity.” I often share a reciprocity study in workshops that makes business owners sit up and take notice.

A health insurance company wanted owners of construction companies to take a health insurance survey. Half of the owners were told they’d be given $50 when they completed and returned the completed survey. That’s pretty generous! The other owners were given a $5 check up front with a short note letting them know their time was valuable and thanked them for taking the survey.

On the surface most people would conclude two things:
  1. Those being offered $50 will be far more likely to take the survey. After all, the incentive is 10 times more.
  2. Giving $5 up front will be too costly, especially because people can “take the money and run” and skip completing the survey.
If you thought either of those, you were wrong on both accounts. What they found was more than twice as many people took the survey when given the $5 check (52% vs. 23%) and the cost savings was potentially huge. If every person receiving the $5 check cashed it, the insurance company would have still saved 57%, but if only those who completed the survey cashed it, the savings would have been 77%!

You don’t need to be a mathematician or have much business savvy to know more than doubling your results at a savings of more than 50%, possibly as much as 77%, makes good business sense.

Why do we see such a phenomenal result? Because reciprocity, the need we all feel to give back, is ingrained in us from our earliest memories. As soon as we’re able to speak, mom and dad taught us to say “thank you” when someone did something for us. As we got older we learned more sophisticated ways to repay our obligations.

Next time you feel tempted to motivate someone with a big reward pause and consider whether or not there’s a way to give something significantly less and still get the desired behavior. It’s a new year so what better way to kick it off than by doubling your results at half the cost!


Brian, CMCT® 
influencepeople 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

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